Group Title: News-Leader (Fernandina Beach, Fla.).
Title: The news-leader
ALL ISSUES CITATION THUMBNAILS ZOOMABLE PAGE IMAGE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00028319/00420
 Material Information
Title: The news-leader
Uniform Title: News-leader (Fernandina Beach, Fla.)
Alternate Title: News leader
Physical Description: Newspaper
Language: English
Creator: Fernandina Beach News-Leader
Publisher: Fernandina Beach News-Leader
Place of Publication: Fernandina Beach Fla
Publication Date: March 25, 2009
Copyright Date: 2008
Frequency: weekly
regular
 Subjects
Subject: Newspapers -- Fernandina Beach (Fla.)   ( lcsh )
Newspapers -- Nassau County (Fla.)   ( lcsh )
Genre: newspaper   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Florida -- Nassau -- Fernandina Beach
Coordinates: 30.669444 x -81.461667 ( Place of Publication )
 Notes
Additional Physical Form: Also available on microfilm from the University of Florida.
Dates or Sequential Designation: Vol. 124, no. 9 (Feb. 27, 1980)-
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00028319
Volume ID: VID00420
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltuf - ACA5658
oclc - 04377055
alephbibnum - 000366799
issn - 0163-4011
lccn - sn 78002171
 Related Items
Preceded by: Fernandina Beach news-leader

Full Text




Hospital reaches goal.....5A

YHS softball coach fired..6A


Nassau County's


in top 25
INSIDE


Saturday
slam
PAGE IB


F L 0 R I D A'S


OLDEST


WE E K L Y


N EWS PAPER


L


WEDNESDAY March25.2009/26 PAGES 2 SECTIONS fbnewsleddercom


Why the long face?


Fr-H-TO: b\ KATHARINE AC,,S'TAF,)R iHE NEWvSLEAL)ER
Allyson Hall. who has operated Towne Hall Farm in Callahan, above and below, since 2005, said her
customers have become more price conscious. Owners are having economic difficulties when it comes
to boarding, showing or selling their horses.

Equine economy slows from gallop to trot
'KATHARINE ACOSTA
For rhtN s XuLeader


Economic pressures are causing
horse owners around Nassau County
to carefully consider where and when
to spend money when it comes to
their animals. Some have even been
forced to find a different home for
their horse.
Allyson Hall has lived in Callahan
since June 2005 when her farm.
Towne Hall Farm. first opened to give
riding lessons and board horses. Hall
noticed that with the declining econ-"
omy, her customers have become
more price conscious. People are look-
ing for a good place to board their
horse that's not too expensive.
Hall has also noticed that owners
are having trouble when it comes to
selling their horses.
"I'm starting to see a lot more own-
ers who cannot sell their horses, just
try to find a home for their horse,"
Hall said.
At the Florida Horse Ranch" in
'Bryceville, T.C. Sweat raises, trains
and shows horses. Sweat is making
provisions for the decline in horse
sales.
"Our horses aren't selling like they
did two years ago, there's not a
demand for what we are producing


so it's kind of hurting us a bit," Sweat
said. "It has actually caused us to not
breed this year."
One pricey aspect of the horse
world that owners are cutting back
on is showing. Hall explained that the
U.S. Equestrian Foundation began to
see a decrease last veam in the number
of participants a-tending the shows.
"This year it should be interesting
to see how the numbers are compared
to last year." Hall said.


Tip Fisher lives in Fernandina
Beach and has owned and shown
horses for 10 years.
S" think that's been the difference
... being more selective to pick and
choose when you are going to show
and where you are going to show and
not to show as much," Fisher said.
Recent population growth in the
Nassau area has helped the horse
HORSES Continued on 3.4


'History-making'



development in



Old Town OKl'd


ANGELA DAUGHTRY
News-Leader
The city's Historic District Council
gave conceptual approval Thursday
for construction of single-family homes.
on 46 lots in Old Town. .
'That would about double the num-
ber of homes now in Old Town, a his-,
toric community on the north end of
Amelia Island- that was the original
location of the town of Fernandina.
According to an e-mail from city
Community Developmeint Director
Marshall McCrary, there are current-
ly 43 single-family homes in Old Town.
"Based on the existing crnfiguration of
homes and ownership," it's conceiv-
able to have up to 125 new houses built
there, McCrary said.
The lots proposed for new single-
family homes are owned by Bill and
Anne Kavanaugh. 'They are now vacant
with the exception of two that already


have structures.
Bill Kavanaugh, who owns Tiger
Point Marina, said tt the council meet-
ing Thursday that he had acquired
,quite a bit of property in' Old Town
since the 1980s. He noted that he
brought to Old Town in 2004 seven,
architects who then developed more
than 20 house plans that reflect the
.specific historic guidelines. The archi-
tects, who came from as far away as
Barbados, were experts in small his-
toric lots, according to Kavanaugh, and
tried to capture the architectural flavor
.of the area.
Kavanaugh said he hoped to devel-
op several approved house plans, to
choose from with French, Spanish and
Bahamian design influence. The HDC-
approved designs would already be in
place for the potential buyer, and final
house plans would be designed specif-
OLD TOWN Continued on 3A


Useful exercise for
future attracts few


RYAN SMIIH
News-Leader.
About 20 Nassau County residents
attended one of seven simultaneous
town hall meetings held Monday
across Northeast Florida to discuss
Sthe region's future.
The meetings were, a precursor to
Reality Check First.Coast, a May 21
visioning exercise where nearly 300
leaders from the business, government
and non-profit communities will devel-
op future growth scenarios for the
region. The exercise will concentrate
on developing strategies to meet the
region's future.land use, transporta-
tion, infrastructure and recreation
needs.
The meetings and Reality Check
First Coast are all part of Vision 2060,
a regional visioning program intended
to plan growth 50 years into the future.
"We're a region of about 1.8 million
in the seven counties,'and by 2060
we're expected to grow by almost that
number, which is going to bring about
600,000 new jobs," said Steve Rieck,
executive director of the Nassau
County Economic Development Board.


Rieck said having a plan in place to
manage the,expected growth would
help maximize its benefits.
The cou nty spent last year hosting
public meetings to plan its Vision 2032,
which is being completed now. The
two vision plans are not directly relat-
ed.
'The Northeast Florida Regional
Council, wlich is behind Reality Check .
First Coast, hosted a town hall meeting
Monday at the FCCJ Betty.P. Cook,
Center in Yulee. The regional council,
comprising representatives from
Nassau, Duval, Baker, Clay, Flagler,
St Johns and Putnam counties, brings
the counties together to try to plan
effectively for the entire area.
Participants were asked a series of
questions about future growth and
Responded by a show of hands. One of
the major issues addressed was the
availability of mass transit. "The type of
community you live in will determine
whether you want roads or mass tran-
sit," said Ed Lehman, director of
Transportation and Community
Development for the Northeast Florida
REALITY Continued on 3A


Railroad seeks federal cash


to repair bridge onto island


ANGEL-A DAUGHTRY
Ncu's Leader


First Coast Railroad is seeking
nearly S1.5 million in federal funds to
repair its rail bridge across the.-
Intracoastal Waterway, according to a
white paper.
Jerry.Vest, vice president for
Government and Industry Affairs at
First Coast Railroad, says the railroad
.has been working hard to find funding
for the repairs for nearly four years.
The project is a challenge, says Vest,
because while the bridge itself is in
good shape, the ,under-bridge struc-,
ture is deteriorating.
If the entire bridge needed replace-
ment, says Vest, the company could
take advantage of the Coast Guard's
Truman-Hobbs account, which reim-
burses expenditures to repair obstruc-
tive bridges. But since the bridge is


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not falling down. says Vest, taking
money for unnecessary bridge
replacement "would be wasteful."
Veslt says this particular short rail-
road line is very import ant to the com-
munity because without it, Fernandina
Beach would not have any rail service.
"Keeping (the railway) open, active
and in repair is, necessary .to keep
(additional) trucks off the highway,"
said Vest.
The company is hoping to work
with thle Florida Department of
Transportation to take advantage of a
federal transportation appropriations
bill, which means $1.3 billion of recov-


CA '''


ery money for Florida highways and
transportation, says Vest
According to the white paper dated
Jan. 25, the railroad bridge was con-
structed in 1920. It handled nearly
14,500 carloads of freight in 2008 for
customers in Fernandina Beach. Its
36.5 miles of rail lines serve Northeast
Florida and southeastern Georgia,
and provide the only rail service to
Fernandina Beach.
"Loss of the bridge would have a
large adverse impact on the trans-
portation costs for these companies ...
RAIL Continued on 3A'


A .....SB
.. . -. :: .-. ..;. ..... i ......... 9 B
...... 12A
u ......7B
EDITORIAL ................................... 7A


GREENPIER


JOHN LLOYD (PRIVATEAPAPARAZZI@MAC.COM)/FORTHE NEWS-IFADER
The newly renovated pier at Fort Clinch State Park includes solar
panels along the north railing to power lights onto the walkway
below. The pier reopened this winter after months of repairs.


FISHING/TIDES ....................... 4B
OBITUARIES 2A
PEOPLE AND PLACES ........... 7B
POLICE REPORT .................... 11A
'SERVICE DIRECTORY ....... ..._ 9B
SPORTS l..---- 1B


F LO I D A'S OLDt s r W tI N IA APER

NEWS LEADER

fbnewsleader.com


Thu
3/26



81/62


p Wed
A 3/25



2 77/61


E


75C


S Every year that goes by, there is more
rot on the timbers.'
JERRY VEST. FIRST COAST RAILROAD.


. 10 1111.., m 1,1,111 W O


:WEDNSDAY Marh 25,200926 PGE 2SECTONS-----------~co


EWS








WEDNESDAY. MARCH 25,2009 NEWS News-Leader


LOOKING BACK


N -V- m dh and (Fy ItWT Aiwr LktMb*E'


50 YEARS AGO.

The Chamber of
Commerce and Control
Board met to curb unethical
business practices in the
Fernandina Beach-Yulee
area, including making solic-
itors and salesmen register
with the Chamber.
March 26, 1959

25 YEARS AGO
Three men were arrest-


ed for the murder of William
"Mad Dog" Meeks, a con-
struction worker found dead
in the beachfront parking lot
at the foot of Atlantic
Avenue in 1982.
March 28, 1984
10 YEARS AGO.

The county commission
approved plans for a 253-
home subdivision along the
south side of AlA at Miner
Road in Yulee.
March 24, 1999


S._..."Copyrighted Material -


* Syndicated Content


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WEEKLY UPDATE


Student fundraiser
A car wash, raffle, hot dog cookout '
-and candy sale to raise money for student
Jeannie-Lee Davis of Yulee, who has been
selected to represent the U.S. in the
People to People Australia Discovery
Program, will be held from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
*March 28 at- Montego Bay Coffee in
Yulee (on A1A across from Miner Road).
Davis must raise S7.000 to cover her
tuition in the program this summer. As a
'Student Ambassador, she can earn high
school and college credits because of the


many educational elements in the pro-
gram. Raffle tickets are 81 and prizes
include an NIP4 player,'voice recorder/e-
book reader/LUSB scan disk. .
Davis is an active member of Yulee ,
United Methodist Church and is a 10th
grade student at Yulee High School,
where she plays the tenor saxophone in
concert and marching band. and has for
five years. She also played on the Yulee
Hornet's Powder-Puff football team last
season.
For more information on the People to
People ambassador progranis, visit peo-


pletopeople.com.
Trust fund
An education trust fund has been set
up for Hayden and Madison Bowen in
memory of their father, Dan Bowen, who
died March 11 in an accident at Smurfit-
Stone Container Corp. Those who wish to
donate may make'checks payable to .
College America FBO Bowen Children
and mail them to Amelia Financial
Consultants, Richard Young, 201 Centre ,
St.. Fernandina Beach. FL 32034. 261-
4611, ryoungr@Tameliafinancial.com.


OBITUARIES


51 Ah tre


511Ash Street
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
(904) 261-3696 Fax 261-3698"
Website for e-mail addresses:
www,fbnewsleader.comn


Office hoursare 830 am, to 500 p.m. Monday through Friday
The News-Leader Is published every Wednesday and Frda ybyThe Femandina
Beach News-Leader, 511 Ash Street, P.O. Bbx 766; -Femandina Beach, FL
32034. Periodicals postage paid at Femandina Beach, Fla. (USPS 189-900)
ISSNa 0163-4011 Reproductions of mo concerts of this publicdaion inwhole or in
part without witten permission from the publisher are prohi tlerrl
POSTMASTER: Send address changes to. News-Lador 'PO, Box 766,
Femnndina Beach, FL 32035 The News-Leader may only yn ..,ld by pqi InLI or
. ualrnesses aulhonzed by the publisher or crdulali-'n diaon l ,

NOTICE TO ADVERTISERS: The Newd.Leader assumes no finanlcal'
raeponsiblllty for typographical errors in advenrlsnlj Wnon noillluod p.impily. In0e
plpn of Ihe advertisement inwnlcn the typograpniL.ul orror appeora will bti riprint-
ed All advertising is subject to the approval of he publisher Trn News.l.inder ,
reserves the right to correctly Classify edit or delete nny oblectir lOnIlir w t.1iing or
reject the advertisement in its entirely at any time pnior to sciuJuOiliou puiiii. ..ilo if
It Is determined that the ad/enisement or any part thereof is contrary i the gon-
eral standard of advertising acceptance.
SUBSCRIPTION RATES
Mail in Nassau County ............. $36.00
Mail out of Nassau County ..........$63.00


NEWS DEADUNES.
,Community News:
Monday, 5 p.m.
Letters to the editor:
Monday, 12 p.m.
Churc Notesa:
Monday, 5 p.m.
People and Places:
Thursday, 3 p.m.
CNI =.


ADVERTISING DEADLINES
WEDNESDAY NEWS-LEADER
Classified Ads: Monday, 5:00 p.m.*
Classified Display: Friday, 3 p.m.
Legal Notices: Friday, noon
Retail Advertising: Friday, 3 p.m.
FRIDAY NEWS-LEADER
Classified Ads: Wednesday, 5:00 p.m.
Classified Display: Tuesday, 5 p.m.
Retail Advertising: Tuesday, 3 p.m.
* Monday holidays will move the
Classified deadline to Friday at 5 p.m.


Ruby Myrtice
Conner ;
Ruby Myrtice Conner, 95, of
St George, GA., passed away
March 21, 2009. She was born
toJoel and Ola Hodges on April.
14, 1913. She was'raised in St.
George, Ga., and was preced-
ed in death by her husband,
Frank Conner, 3 brothers,
Willie, Marshall and W.A.
SHdges, 3 sisters, Maybelle Hill,
Marie Conner and Eula Arnold.
.,,-On January 11, 1931 she
married Frank Conner who
* _.tlorg with his-father operated
D.W. Conner and Sons for many
years. In 1956 Myrtice and
,Frank moved, to Camp
,Blandirig, FL where Frank went
to work for the State of Florida.
They spent 17 years living oni
beautiful Kingsley Lake. Her
love forfishing was formed at an
early age by her grandmother
Bathsheba Gainey, so living on
a lake was a thrill for her., '.
In 1973 Myrtice and Frank
moved back to their beloved
community' of St.. George,
where.they built a new home.
Her love of flowers and gar-
dening took over and she spent
many hours canning and
arranging her flowers. Visitors'
as well as the community always
knew they could find a good
meal or help if they went to "Ms.
Myrtice's" house. She became
very active .in the Callahan
Chapter, Order of the Eastern
Star where' she: served 'as
'Worthy Matron. She was also a
lifelong member of the First
Baptist Church of St. George.
:For the past several 'years
she spent her time between her
daughter and son-in-law Norma
and Bill Oliver's home in
Snellville, Ga. and son Vernon
and Frances Conner's home in
Winter Springs, FL. She has
resided for. the past several
years in Oviedo, FI where she
attended the First Baptist
Church of Oviedo and was a
member of the Joy Sunday
School class.
She was a devoted mother to
her -children Julian (Alma)
Conner, Callahan; Betty
(Leonard) Home, Jacksonville,
FL; Norma (William) Oliver,
Snellville, GA.; Vernon
(Frances) Conner, Winter
Springs, FL 10 grandchildren
George (Ann) Horne, Wayne
(Joy) Horne,, Kenny (Tina)
Horne, Lanette (Dale) Denby,
Toby Horne, .Ernie (Patty)
Horne; Steven (Kate) Connei-,
Jennifer (Jason) VanderVossen,
Stephanie (Greg) Williford and
Carey (Heather) Oliver, 15
great-grandchildren, 8 great-
great-grandchildren. She is also
survived by 'several nieces,
nephews and cousins that she
loved dearly.
Memorial service will be
held at First Baptist Church
Oviedo on ThIusday, March 26,




The Nassat
S Visit Our L


2009 at 7:00 p.m. Visitation will
:be held at the Callahan Funeral
'Home, Friday. March 27, 2009
between 6:00-9:00 p.m. Funeral
will be held at the First Baptist
Church St. George, Saturday,
March 28, 2009 at 10:00 a.m.
Interment at Conner-Green
Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers donations
can be made to First Baptist
Church St. George Building
Fund.
Callahan Funeral Home. Inc wah
EdoAtiller Camden Chapel

William A:Billr "Hlair '
Mr. William A. "Bill" Hair,.
age 80,,of Fernandina Beach.
passed away on Saturday morr-
ing, March 21, 20(09 at the home
of his son. ,
Born in Hope Mills, NC, he
had been a lifelong resident of
Hope Mills prior to moving to
:Fernandina in 1953. For many.
years, Mr. Hair
'had worked at I
Terminal Bag
inYulee. In the
most recent
years, he will
be remem-
bered as own- -
ing the Texaco :
Service Station and Bill's Auto
Sales and Towing on 8th Street
He was a former member of
North 14th Street Baptist,
Church.
I He is preceded in death by:
his wife, Velma Fay Little Hair,
who passed away in September
of 1998 and a son, Tildon Hair,.
who passed away,in December
of 1988,
In addition to his Hammer-
head family; he leaves behind,
'his daughter, Diana Foreman
(W0a0ne), Mt. Pleasant, SC, his
sons, Steven Hair (Wanda),
Tony Hair (Ginger), Dale Hair,
all of Ferfiandina Beach, FL, a
sister, Margie Hulon, Jackson-
ville, FL, grandchildren, David
Cook, Hunter Anderson, Troy
Foreman- (Becky), Kimberly
Horne (Mike), Alicia Watson
(Billy Ray), Larissa Kwiatkowski
(Mike); Richie Smith (Shan-
non), Laura Palecek (Dallas),
Tildon Hair, Tony Hair II,
Kendall Hair, great-grandchil-
dren, Emma and Cole Foreman,
Alexa, Brinkley, Cameron and
Drew Watson, Caden, Analise
and Adalai Kwiatkowski, Skyler
and Layken Smith, Hunter and
Fisher Palecek, soon to arrive,
Addyson Faye Palecek and sev-
eral nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be at
11:00 am on Thursday from the
Burgess Chapel with Diana
Foreman, officiating.
Active pallbearers will be:
David Cook, Hunter Anderson,
Richie Smith and Dallas
Palecek.
Honorary pallbearers-Tom-
my Grey, Mike Kwiatkowski,
Billy Ray Watson, Cassin


Parnell, Rusty Scarberry and
Tommy Carrillo,
Mr. Hair will be laid to rest
beside his wife in Bosque Bello
Cemetery.
Guests and friends are invit-
:ed to. visit at his home, ;today,
after the hour of 6:00 pm.
Please share his life story,at
www.oxleyheaid.com.
Oxley-HeardFuneral Directors

Harry Gilbert
Mixson Jr.,
Memorial services forHarry
Gilbert Mixson Jr., 57, who died
Friday, March 20, 2009, will be
held on Tuesday, at 11:00 in
Jacksonville Fire Rescue Divi-
sionr Union Hall, 625 Stockton
Street, Jacksonville, FL 32204
with Fire Dept Chaplain Percy,
,Golden officiating. :
Mr. Mixson was a native of
Jacksonville, residing in Yulee,
since 1989. He had retired from
Jacksonville Fire Rescue after,
28 years of service and was a'
Certified Animal Control Officer
for Nassau County. He was an
avid fisherman and a member of
the Christian faith.
He was preceded in death
by his mother, the late Barbara
Mixson; Survivors include his
wife of 14 years, Lynda Ann
Traugh Mixson; father, Harry
Gilbert Mixson Sr., 2 daughters,
Melissa Crosby (Aaron), and
AAmanda Wenzel; 1 sister, Kathy
Mixson; 2 brothers, Ronnie,
Mixson and Bobby Mixson.
In lieu of flowers, the family
request memorials be made to:
Rain Humane Society S.P.CA,
P.O. Box 587, Callahan, Florida
32011.
George H. Hevell and Son
Funeral Home.Jacksonville

Georgette Dyal
Murphy Jr.
Georgette Dyal Murphy, Jr.,
passed on March 16, 2009, at
Baptist Medical Center Nassau.
Born in Wildwood, Fl. on
Aug. 22, 1967, Mrs. Murphy is
predeceased by her father
George Dyal. Survivors include
her husband, George Murphy
Jr.; a daughter, Destiny Kamira
Dukes, 4 sons, Chuck Jr., Adam,
and Gabron
Brown, and
Jeramiah
Dukes, a step-
son, Destin
Green, her
mother,
Geraldine
Forde, sisters
Jacqueline Mobley, lanthe
Forde, Linda Wilson, and
Mlargarette Johnson, brothers
Resverd Jr., Remmon, and
George Forde as well as a host
of Nieces & Nephews, 1 great-
niece & 1 great-nephew.
Funeral Services will be held
on Saturday, March 28, 2009 at
5:00, p.m. in First United


i County Tradtion since 1931
ife Stories at www.OxleyHeard.com


Methodist Church of Callahan.
Pallbearers will be George A
Murphy. Jr., George Forde,
Gabron, Chuck' and Adam
Brown, and Remmon Forde.
Callahan Funeral Home. Inc.

Juanita Mae Stretch
Mrs. Juanita Mae Stretch,
age 89, of Fernandina-Beach,
passed away on Monday morn-,,
ing, March 16, 2009 at Quality
Health Care of Fernandina.
Born in Paris, TX, she was
the daughter .of the' late Joel
Jefferson and Mattie Alexander
Perdue. Before moving to
Fernandina Beach in 2003, Mrs.
Stretch had been a resident of
the Mandarin
area of Jack-
sonville. Her '
husband of 47
years, Lt Col. ,
James J.
Stretch, pre-
ceded her in
death in 1991.
During her marriage to Lt Col.
Stretch, they lived all over the
world with his career, .which
'enabled her involvement with
many cultures. She was a for-
mer .volunteer. at the VA
Hospital in Ft. Belvoir, VA, an
avid gardener and Methodist
by faith.
In addition to her husband,
she is preceded in death by: a
son, James R Stretch.
She leaves behind, her
daughter, Karen Taylor, Fern-
andina Beach, a daughter-in-
law, Joan Stretch, five grand-
children, Tony Taylor (Margo),
Kathleen Flynn (Kevin), Tom
Taylor, Todd Taylor, Christo-
pher Stretch and five great-
grandchildren, James Joseph
Flynn, Patrick Flynn, John
Flynn, Mary Margaret Flynn
and Tom Taylor.
Funeral services will be held
at 2:00 pm on Friday, April 10,
2009 from the graveside in
' Arlington National Cemetery,
Washington, DC, as she is laid
to rest beside her husband.
Please share her life story
at www.oxleyheard.com.
Oxley-Heard Funeral Directors

DEATH NOTICES

Joel M. Buttingnol, 80,
died Monday afternoon, March
23, 2009, at a Jacksonville hos-
pital. Funeral services and inter-
ment will be in Las Cuces, N.M.
Green Pine Funeral Home
Louise Dixon, 80, of
Jacksonville died on March 20,
2009. Visitation will be from 6-8
p.m. today at the funeral home.
Funeral service will 11 a.m.
Thursday, March 26 at
Hardage-Giddens Funeral
Home, 4315 Main St., Jack-
sonville, with Pastor Brooks
Monk officiating. Interment will
follow in Telmore Cemetery in
Waycross, Ga.
Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home.
Jacksonville
Jean K. Goss, 79, Died
Tuesday morning, March 24,
2009, at her Yulee residence.
Arrangements were incomplete
at time of publication.
I Green Pine FuneralHome


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WEDNESDAY. March 25,2009 NEWS News-Leader


REALITY Continued from 1A
Regional Council. "... And what
is mass transit? Is it light rail, or
is it increased bus service?"
Most of the meeting's atten-
dees said there was no bus serv-
ice available from their neigh-
borhoods to their places of
employment. The majority also
said that were such service
available, they would utilize
them. Most also felt that busi-
ness districts should be close
to residential districts to ease
commutes.
Other issues addressed
included the preservation of
undeveloped land, the protec-
tion of water bodies like the St.
Johns River, and the price tag of
new infrastructure. Most atten-
dees said the cost of new infra-
structure should be split
between the existing tax base
and the new growth making the
infrastructure necessary.
After the survey, Lehman
acknowledged the meeting's
small turnout and said there
were plans to broaden Vision
2060's public input. "We're try-.
ing to get individual meetings
out there to smaller communi-
ties," he said. "... If the Hilliard
Town Council or the Callahan
Town Council wanted us to hold
a meeting, we'd certainly do
that. If you're from Hilliard, for.
instance, it.might be a little far
to drive even to come here.,
"Certainly you're riot getting
a representative sample you're
getting a sample of the type of
people who take the time to
attend a meeting, which any
statistician would tell you isn't a
representative sample,"
Lehman added. "Still, we think
it's a useful exercise."
Lehman said growth is com-


HORSES Continued from 1A
industry since many people
who move to the area buy hors-
es for pleasure riding.
However,: some of these peo-
ple are inexperienced horse
owners.
Amy Green, who owns
Double A Ranch in Callahan,
has noticed that with the
population growth she has seen
people move in, buy a house.
on an acre or two, and get a
horse.
'Most of those people are
getting out of the, horse
business or (have their horses
confiscated) because they can't
'take care of them and the coun-
ty will have to take them if
they've been called in by ani-
nmal control," Green said. -
' Although horses '' 6me
along with high expenses and
therefore more stress, they still
manage to provide a major
source of comfort for owners.
"I think the biggest joy for
horse owners is to have that
time with the horse. We have a
lot of professional people who
work very hard during the.
weekdays and come weekend
time they really enjoy spend-
ing time with the horses, taking
their riding lessons; and just
having that relationship with

S: ELECT

LARRIY MYERS
City Commission Grp 4
April 14th
Pd. Pol. Adv. Paid & Approved By
Larry Myers Campaign for City Comm. Grp. 4-


ing inevitably, and the regional
visioning process will help pre-
pare for that growth. 'Will we
grow? I've seen articles saying
we won't, that more people are
moving out of Florida," he said.
'Well, as they say, it still snows
in Fargo, North Dakota. And
quite frankly, the economy isn't
going to stay the same forever.
I think we will grow. The bottom
line is, how will we choose our
future? We start with the May
21st visioning exercise arid say,
'Where do we go from here?'
"But the work doesn't end
on May 22," he said. "What hap-
pens next? That's when the fun
really begins.... We'll build and
get public input.on these sce-
narios."
Lehman said the region's
visioning process wouldn't
negate Nassau County's own
Vision 2032, a 25-year plan
recently unveiled after nearly
two years of work. "I would
hope it would work hand-in-
hand," Lehman said. "I don't
think it's meant to trump any
local vision, because Nassau
County's not alone. But I do
think there's, a regional vision.
Local visions will probably have
different priorities."
Rieck admitted that a 50-year
visioning process didn't come
with any guarantees. However,
he said it would provide a use-
ful tool, to help future planners
manage new growth.."The exer-
cise is really designed to set a
community on a trajectory to
get,these things accomplished,"
he said. "... Nobody knows
where we're going to. be in 50
years. What we want to do is
set ourselves in the right direc-
tion to get where we want to be
in 50 years."
rsmith@fbnewsleader.com


their horse," Hall said.
Fisher referred to horses as
a passion.
"I think the thing that I enjoy
most is taking a young horse
and bringing it along and see-
ing the progress of teaching
and training a horse, working
with a horse, (and) the
progress and the setting goals
of where you want to.show and
being able to be competitive,"
Fisher said.
HAll loves the special rela-
tionship she is able to form with
the horses.
"There is nothing better
than to be able to come out and
spend time with an animal and
be a part of that horse's life and
the care, the emotion and the
enjoyment that you get out of it,
so it's just a wonderful experi-
ence to own a horsr," Hall said.
Katherine Acosta is a jour-
nalism student at the University
of North Florida.






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OLD TOWN
Continued from 1A
ically for the different types of
lots such as front, interior or
corner. Building materials
would also conform with Old
Town's architectural regula-
tions.
Kavanaugh also said there
is no set plan of phases for the
project. He said after the meet-
ing that one or two parties had
already shown some interest
in the proposal, and that the
houses would range in size
from 800 to 2,400 square feet.
HDC members expressed
enthusiasm for the project, and
several Old Town residents
who attended the meeting said
they were also in favor of it.
Old Town resident Patricia
Shepherd said she was excited
about the lots being developed,
but said she was concerned
about the condition of the
streets.
"I think it's going to be good
for property owners and the
city as a whole," she said.
Patricia Borns, another Old
Town resident, said she would
like to see the Kavanaughs'
conceptual' plans approved
because they.were the "most
. pleasing" she had seen, but
added that the city should
make sure the public still has
access to Egans Creek, which


RAIL Continued from 1A
(and) would re-sult in an addi-
tional 55,000 truck shipments
through this area annually,"
according to the paper.
According to Vest, in 2006 a
barge lost control as it was
approaching the bridge and
hit a concrete slab on the in-
land side of the bridge, knock-
ing it off its pier. The damage
was repaired within a day or
so, says Vest,, but another


: ..--. ..."
PHOTO COURTESY OF WWW.OLDTOWVNFERNANI)INA.ORI(
Architect Douglas Luke's design was among more than
20 house plans sought to reflect the specific historic
guidelines of Old Town.


is behind some of the building
lots.
Michael and Jennifer
Harrison of Old Town also
wrote to the city in support of
the proposal. .
'We know it is pleasant to
have room to spread," they
wrote, "and we'll need to make
sure that the infrastructure ...
can cope with more'people, but
we are very undevelQped. ...
We need more 'nwner-occu-
piers' in Old Town; renters are
fine, but they do not have the
same stake in our future as
owners."
However, Wallace Sterling
and his sister Katie Davenport,
former Old Town residents,
have written in e-mails to the
city that they are concerned
about disturbing possible


such accident could be much
worse.
"If (a barge) hits the mov-
able bridge," says Vest, "it could
cause extensive damage and
put us out of service for a long
time."
City Manager Michael
Czymbor has also sent a letter
to U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson and
Mel Martinez, as well as
Congressman Ander Cren-
shaw, asking for their support
in "making this a high priority




-771


Indian mounds in the area.
"During the late 1940s,
1950s and early 1960s, the chil-
dren of Old Town played in the
then-wooded area across
Ladies Street from our Aunt
Lillian Fulford's house,"
Davenport wrote. "In this
wooded area was an Indian
mound; we children played on
and around this mound at
times and would sometimes
find arrowheads there .... At a
later time when permission was
granted for a boatyard/facility
to be built on the marsh and a
road was constructed to this
boat area, the Indian mound
disappeared, as did a great deal
of the marsh.
"All I ask is that you do the
right thing and preserve what
you can of the true history of


project for a public-private part-
nership with the First Coast
Railroad.",
Czymbor notes in his letter
that, although the bridge is
"basically sound for rail uise,
the U.S." Coast Guard has
identified numerous improve-
ments necessary for the navi-
gational channel through the
bridge structure." The project
would include reconstruction
of pilings and fenders, improve-
ments to walkways, lighting


Old Town," she wrote, "and not
sacrifice it to those who are so
eager to continue the over-
development of the area."
Kavanaugh said after the
meeting that, although he
knew of several Indian mounds
on the island, he was not aware
of any in Old Town, and that
the area in question had ware-
houses built on it in the early
19th century.
HDC member Susan
Mowery, a local archaeologist,
said she was concerned about
the archaeological aspects of
the proposal, especially about
losing important information
on. the area's history. She
added that she hoped all par-
ties could "find some common
ground to help everyone out."
"I think this is a very noble
idea, and hats off to you, Mr.
Kavanaugh," said HDC mem-
ber Jimmye Owens-Williams.
"This is really history-making."
Founded in 1811, Old Town
'is known as the last town in
the Western Hemisphere to be
platted by the Spanish. The
original grid, laid down by
designer George Clark,
remains to this day. For more
information on the history of
Old Town, and to view home
designs from the 2004 charette,
go to www.oldtownfernandi-
na.org.
adaughtry6 bnewsleadercom


and navigational aids and re-
conditioning of the bridge
mechanism and electrical con-
trols.
Vest says the project has
gotten tremendous support
from local officials and busi-
nesses. "People appreciate how
important it is," says Vest. "I'm
hopeful we'll get a break-
through ... every year that goes
by, there is more rot on the tim-
bers."
adaughrry@fbnewsleader.com


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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25, 2009/NEWS-LEADER


BUSINESS


* _IN BRIEF


TDCtomeet
Amelia Island Tourist
Development Council has
scheduled its monthly meet-
ing at 3 p.m. today at City.
Hall, 201 Ash St .
Top2hotel
Elizabeth Pointe Lodge, a
25-room boutique hotel locat-
ed on Amelia Island, was
voted the number-2 hotel in
the United States in the 2008,
Conde Nast Traveler Readers'
Choice Awards. The infi
scored a 95.2 compared to.
The .Peninsula of Chicago, the
top-rated property, which
scored a 95.4. Over 32,000 .
readers of the magazine par-
ticipated in the survey.
"We are very excited about
this honor," said Dave Caples,
owner of the Elizabeth Pointe
Lodge. "It's gratifying to know
. tht our guests have had a,
wonderful experience at
Elizabeth Pointe Lodge and


are willing to tell others about Born in Willington, N.C.,
their stay." Nance grew up in Keystone,
Elizabeth Pointe Lodge W.Va., and moved to
was built as an 1890's Queen Fernandina Beach in 1972. He
Anne Shingle style reproduc- graduated from Florida Junior
tion and features 20 rooms in College of Jacksonville.
the Main House and four Nance began his career
deluxe sitting rooms in the with Southeastern Bank in
Ocean House. The Miller :1998 and has served as
Cottage features a two-bed- branch manager of the Yulee
room/two bath arrangement office and commercial lender
for family or corporate gather- for the Nassau market. Prior
ings. to joining Southeastern,,
Elizabeth Pointe Lodge is Nance spent 25 years in the
located at 98 South Fletcher financial industry.
Ave. For more information, Active in the community,
log on to www.elizabeth- Nance is a board member of
plointelodge.com. the Yulee Optimist Club, is a
,anklrm otion member of the Amelia Lodge
proton# 47, the Amelia Island,
,Raymond Nance, Jr., has Fernandina Beach, Yulee
been promoted to vice presi- Chamfiber of Commerce and a
dent and market manager of former board member of
Southeastern Bank. Nance.' Habitat for Humanity. .
will be based out of the Nance is the son of Ruby L.
Hilliard branch and will over- Nance and the late Raymond
see the Nassau County mr- ... W..Nance,Sr., of Fernandina
ket and continue his duties in Beach. He and his wife,
lending. - --Nancy-reside itnFernandina
Beach and have three chil-
dreh, Todd, Nikki and Patrick.
SSoutheastern Bank oper-
ates 17 full-ser'vice banking
Sofficesiin Sbutheast Georgia
S and Northeast Florida with
total assets of $434 million.
More information on the bank
is available on its website at
www.southeasternbafik.com.
t Curves food chdrive


During the month of '
March, Curves of Fernandina
'Beach will participate in the
11th Annual Curves Food
Drive to benefit local food
banks. Collectively, over the
past five years, nearly 50 imil-
lion pounds of food were dis-
tributed.


Curves of Fernandina
Beach is also giving back to
the community by waiving its
normal service fee for any '
new member who brings in a
bag of non-perishable gro-
ceries and joins through
March 28.
Others wishing to donate
may drop off non-perishable
food items at Curves, 1118
South 14th St., Monday
through Friday during busi-
ness hours.
For information, call Karen
at 491-0800.
Tide sponsor
Southwest Airlines has
signed on as the-title sponsor
of the "Southwest Airlines
Kids Korner" at the 46th
Annual Isle of Eight Flags
Shrimp Festival, presented by
Publix Supermarkets, May.1-
3. The sponsorship will
enhance Kids Korner activi-
ties during the annual event,
and will also allow shrimp fes-
tival organizers to offer travel
. getaways to Amelia Island
during the 2009 festival.
For more information call,
866-4AMELIA, or visit
www.shrimpfestival.com.
Book festival dates
The Amelia Island Book
Festival is moving its annual
festival weekend from
October to February.
In coordination with the
Amelia Island Convention and
Visitors Bpreau, the book fes-:
tival has set its ninth annual
weekend for Feb..11-13. The
date change eliminates con-
cerns about holding the festi-
val during.hurricane season-
and competing fall events.


HAVE VALUES DECLINED
IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?

Are you assessed HIGHER
than 'fair market value'?

CALL (904) 27'-3135

A. Michael Hickox
State Cerrined Residennal Real Estate Appra.ier
Lie RDi41l


Fragments of


upbeat news
Like fissures in a Wall of ice, -locations have commonly
fragments of upbeat news are declined 30 percent or more.
spreading through the rela- Granted, many of the real
tively frozen financial markets. estate transactions are either
The latest news came in the foreclosures or short sales. In
federal government's announ- fact, about half of the transac-
cement to buy treasuries in the tions in the final quarter of
open mar- 2008 were through these so-
ket, attempt- called distressed sales.
ing to fur- However, these sales at least
their supp- remove from the excess inven-
Sress interest tory.
rates. In the In Nassau County, property
s a m e values have declined over the
breath, sales past couple years by at least
of existing 20 percent, according to many
homes in experts. The declines vary
STEVE'S the U.S: sur- depending on location.
MARKET prisingly There are some bright
PLACE exceeded spots. With incentives for first-
forecasts time homebuyers, areas with
....- registering a affordable housing such as
Steve Nicklas pace not western Yulee and on the West
seen in Side should benefit Construc-
years. Around the country,' tion of new homes and town
there are signs the real estate homes has slowed locally, but
market is trying to heat up, there are still signs of activity
according to CNBC. on Amelia Island and in Yulee.
Property prices have fallen One other thing is working
so far that they may again in the favor of the markets this
appear to be attractive, accord- year, as compared to last year.
ing to reports. Sales are pick- The comparisons this year will
ing up in certain locations, with be more favorable, in contrast
prices to hopefully soon follow, to the depths reached last year
The places with the most in many asset classes.
sales are those where prices Like with existing home
have fallen the most. For sales, it is easier now to exceed
instance, in Lee County, sales year-over-year comparisons -
have increased 80 percentyear since last year was so poor.
over year. Acaveat: The prices When compared with these
are half of what they were. frozen-like conditions, any
The same holds true for activity this year might seem
some other Florida markets frenetic and warming.
thathave experienced a run-up Steve Nicklas is a financial
in hasty listings and low-priced advisor who lives on Amelia
sales, according to the con- Island. He can be reached at
suiting firm Fishkind & Asso- 753-0236.
ciates. Property values in these thenicklasteam2@msn.com

Investing class
A four-week continuing-education class, "Investing in
Today's Financial Markets," will be offered beginning April 7
at the FCCJ-Betty P. Cook Nassau Center in Yulee.
The class is taught by local financial adviser Steve
Nicklas. Sessions will be on Tuesdays from 6:30-8 p.m. Cost
is $36, which includes all materials. Students must pre-regis-
ter at the college and make checks payable to FCCJ.
The class schedule is- April 7, Investing in the stock mar-
ket; April 14, Investing in the bond market: ApnI 21, Investing
in IRAs, 401 Ks and other retirement vehicles. April 28.
Implementing a financial plan.
The college can be reached at 548-4432.


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NOTICE.OF PUBLIC HEARING
PLANNING ADVISORY BOARD
CITY OF FERNANDINA BEACH
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a Public Hearing is scheduled
for Wednesday, April 8. 2009 at 5:30 p.m. in the City
Commission Chambers, 204 -Ash Street Fernandina Beach,
Florida to consider the followingg:

TO DISCUSS THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN
EVALUATION AND APPRAISAL REPORT (EAR)
PROGRESS REPORT AND STATUS UPDATE.

TO CONSIDER PLANNING ADVISORY BOARD
APPLICATIONS AND MEMBER REAPPOINTMENTS
(TWO (2) VACANCIES AND ONE (1) REAPPOINTMENT).

Interested parties may appear at said hearing and be heard as to
the advisability of any action, which may be considered. Any
persons with disabilities requiring accommodations in order to
participate in this program or activity should contact 277-7305,
TTY 277-7399, (TTY number for all City offices) or through the
Florida Relay Service at 1-800-955-8771 at least 24 hours in
advance to request such accommodation.

IF ANY PERSON DECIDES TO APPEAL ANY DECISION
MADE BY THE BOARD/COMMISSION WITH RESPECT TO
ANY MATTER CONSIDERED AT SUCH HEARING, S/HE
WILL NEED TO ENSURE THAT A VERBATIM RECORD OF
THE PROCEEDINGS IS MADE, WHICH RECORD
INCLUDES THE TESTIMONY AND EVIDENCE UPON
WHICH THE APPEAL IS TO BE BASED.
Copies of any applications may be inspected in the office of the
Community Development Department, City Hall, 204 Ash Street,
between the hours of 8:00 AM 5:00 PM, Monday through
Friday. For information on any application, please contact the
Staff of the Planning Department at 277-7325.


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SUCTION
S: NASSAU COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD SURPLUS PROPERTY AUCTION"

The NCSB Maintenance Department and Transportation Department will conduct an auction
March 27, 2009 at 9:00 a.m. (All merchandise may be inspected at 8:30 a.m.)
EVERYONE CAN BUYI

LOCATION: 86334 & 86260 Goodbread Road, Yulee, Florida 32097. The auction will start at
the Maintenance parking lot &z end at the Transportation parking lot. For more information call
Suie Easterling at (904) 225-5343 or Cheryl Goodman-at (904) 225-0127.

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WEDNESDAY. March 25.2009 BUSINESS News-Leader


Gift vaults hospital over capital cam


[ign goal


Baptist Medical Center
Nassau's capital campaign
reached its goal of $3.5 million
thanks to a major pledge this
week of $150,000 from The
Players Championship, said .
Chip Townsend, chairman of
the hospital board of directors.
"We are so grateful to The
Players Championship for rec-
ognizing the importance of this
hospital to our community and
visitors, and enabling us tq
reach our ambitious goal," he
said in a press release. "Thanks
to The Players, its volunteers
and over 200 other donors, the
Betty and David Berkman
Building for Patient Care will
open for patients on April 24."
According to Henry
Hughes, executive vice presi-
dent of the PGATour and CEO
of The Players Championship,
the 2008 tournament raised
more than $3 million for area
charities. "We have long known
that Amelia Island is home, to
beautiful golf courses and com-
mitted golfers. Now we know it.
has a remarkable hospital as
well," he said. "The Players is
pleased to support Baptist
Medical Center Nassau for the
enormous contribution it
makes to the strength and
health of this community."
Baptist. Health, which pur-
chased the former Nassau
General Hospital in 1994, is
financing' the bulk of the
$24 million project, bringing
its investment, in Baptist
Nassau over the past 15 years to
close to $55 million, said Jim
Mayo, local hospital adminis-
trator.
This was Baptist Nassau's
first capital campaign, he said.
"Some questioned whether we
were overreaching by setting
so high a goal," said Mayo. "But
the determined Paul Bosland
and his 'campaign cabinet
believed it could be done and.
would not quit until they did it.
They should feel extremely
proud of this outstanding suc--
cess."
The $3.5 'million goal to
"Build the Hospital We Need
in the Community We Love"
was sert, almost,three years
ago when the economy was a
lot healthier than it is today,
Bosland said. "It is a testament
to the generosity of our com-
munity, the excellent reputa-
tion of Baptist Nassau, and the
tireless efforts of o many car-
ing people, that we have accom-
plished our goal," he said.
The new two-story building
was named in honor of Amelia
island residents Betty and
David Berkman, who made
the largest donation to the

ELECT

mARRY MYERS.
City Commission Grp 4
April 14th
Pd. Pol. Adv. Paid & Approved By
Larry Myers Campaign for City Comm.,Grp. 4


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campaign. Other major donors
were Robert and Sylvia Coma,
for whom the new intensive
care unit will be named, and
Paul Bosland and family. The
hospital's main lobby will be
named in the Bosland family's
honor.
Although the Berkman
Building will be open for
patients on April 24, the entire
project will hot be completed
until next February after the
current inpatient facility is torn
down and new corridors con-
nect the Berkman Building to
-the rest of the hospital;
A new nursery has yet to


Officials from The
Players
Championship vis-
ited Baptist Nassau
on Friday to
announce their
$150,000 pledge
to the capital cam-
paign. Pictured are
Jim Mayo, Baptist
Nassau administra-
tor; Jay Monahan,
vice president and
executive director,
The Players
Championship;
Henry Hughes,
executive vice pres-
ident, PGA Tour
and CEO of The
Players
Championship;
Paul Bosland,
chairman, Baptist
Nassau Capital
Campaign; Marlene
Spalten, vice presi-
dent, Baptist
Health/executive
director, Baptist
Health Foundation.
SUBMITTED


be 'completed and in place of
the old building will be a
park-like setting for reflection,
relaxation and renewal that
are vital to healing and recov-
ery.
The all-volunteer Capital
Campaign Cabinet, headed by
Bosland, former chairman of
. the Baptist Nassau Board of
Directors, includes Townsend,
president of First Coast
Community Bank, and board
members Chris Bryan and Rick
Keffer. Emily Crawford, Sandy
Sproat, Susan Siegmund and
Bobby Ferreira also served on
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WEDNESDAY. MARCH 25.2009 NEWS News-Leader


Former firefighter

dies trimming tree
SHANNON MALCOM Jacksonville Fire Rescue for
News-Leader 28 years before retiring, then
worked in Nassau County as a
Harry Gilbert "Gil" certified animal control offi-
Mixson died last week after a cer. A native of Jacksonville,
fall from a ladder while trim- Mixson had lived in Yulee
ming a tree at his Haddock since 1989.
Road home. He was an avid fisherman,
According to police, the and he is survived by his wife
accident happened about 3 .of 14 years, Lynda Ann
p.m. on March 19. Mixson's Traugh Mixson, his father,.
brother-in-law, Frank Traugh, Harry Gilbert Mixson Sr., two
was at the home as well and daughters,; Melissa Crosby
said Mixson was on a ladder and Amanda Wenzel, one sis-
and cutting limbs from a tree ter and two brothers.
in his yard when one of the RAIN Humane Society,
tree limbs broke, swung back S.P.C.A. in Callahan is
and hit the ladder Mixson was accepting donations in
standing on. Mixson's memory in lieu of
Traugh said the limb flowers.
caused the ladder to fall and Services for Mixson were
knocked: Mixson to the held Wednesday at
ground he fell an estimated Jacksonville Fire Rescue
15 feet. Division Union Hall; a fire
Traugh and a neighbor department chaplain officiat-
ralldl Nassau ounntv Fire ed.


,Rescue, and. Mixson was
i transported by helicopter to
Shands Jacksonville, but he
died the following day.
Mixson worked for


The case is being investi-
gated by the Nassau County
Sheriff's Office.
Obituary, 2A
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MySpace = no space for YHS coach


BETH JONES
News-Leader
Yulee High School's head
softball coach has been
removed from her position for
reportedly writing about her
team on her MySpace web
page.
Randalyn Rogers, who was
in her second season with the
Lady Hornets, is still teaching at
Yulee High.
The Nassau County School
District would not confirm that
Rogers was fired Thursday prior
to a game for allegedly writing.
disparaging remarks about her


team on her MySpace site.
"Ms. Rogers was relieved of
her coaching duties pending
'further investigation, but con-
tinues as a teacher," said Sharyl
Wood, executive director for
administrative services for
Nassau County Schools. "Other
than that, there is no further
comment."
Rogers declined comment.
"I can't talk. You can talk to
.(YHS Athletic Director) Will
Minor for any information," she
wrote in an e-mail.
Minpr also declined corn-
ment, deferring to Woods at the
school district.


updates
istic timetables and funding
els, Selby said. "Oftenti:
these projects will come i
less money than was budg
and we'll have money rema
that we can put back in the
he said. "A lot of times t
are timing issues ... so we
to adjust the timing on a 1
these things."
Selby told the board tha
review also gave the count
chance to simplify funding
various capital projects. 'W
several small funds, s
accounts, when we put this
ital improvement plan tog
er," he said. "We're trying
eliminate those and console
down to. two .or three


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Rogers


But accor-
ding to volun-
teer coach
Kristy Hice,
Rogers posted
"how the
team was
doing on
MySpace. I
guess it got to
the principal.


I'm not sure what got her fired."
Hice said she hadn't seen
what was posted. "Something
about being disappointed about
their playing ability," she said.
"They told her an hour
before they departed for the


game," Hice said. "The players
are really devastated. Many are
writing letters."
Hice said Rogers put much
effort into the program and the
field. "Her work on the field was
endless," she said.
Rogers is the second coach
for the YHS program, which is
in just its third season. She was
.hired in 2007 to replace Lesley
Slaughter, who resigned after a
season. Rogers played softball at
the University of North Florida
and graduated in May 2007, a
month before being hired at
YHS.
bjones(@fbnewsleader.com


capital spending
g lev- accounts." to be cautious."
mes, The mid-year review is also The most expense
n for an opportunity to add new proj- added to the CIP in
eted, ects to the CIE "Sometimes new Nassau Tradeplex an
dining items will come up, and we, Nassau Landfill, s
pot," bring those to the board as they Lewis, senior finai
here arise and keep a running tally," agement analyst for
need Selby said after the meeting. of Management and
lot of County department heads '"The largest one
were asked to identify critical for the Tradeplex in
at the projects to add to the CIP proj- improvements son
nty a ects they felt must be complet- improvements, sigi
g for ed before the plan is reevaluat- she said Thursday..
b had ed in September. The board approved $400,00 t
small approved a few of those proj- convenience center
s cap- ects but Chairman Barry Nassau Landfill. E
geth- Holloway counseled caution. else is under $200,
ng to "We need to be aware that are the big hits."
idate our department heads have However, the ne
big. brought these forward as criti- will not require the
cal issues," Holloway said. "But find new revenue.
I think we've gotten to this point dedicated funding sc
by being conservative and fis- are utilized for these
cally responsible. I think as we Lewis said.
move forward on this, we need rsmith@fbnev


--4= 6
- -. U>
- U


ive projects
evolved the
nd the West
aid Cathy
icial man-
r the Office
I Budget.
is $615,000
intersection
ne turn lane
nalization,"
"They also
:oward the
at the West
Everything
000. Those
ew projects
e county to
"We have
sources that
e projects,"
)sleader.com


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County i
RYAN SMITH
News-Leader
The Nassau County Com-
mission considered changes to
the county's capital improve-
ment plan at its meeting March
18.
"We do that semi-annually,"
said Ted Selby, director of the
Office of Management and
Budget. "That's part of the pol-
icy that the board's adopted. We
adopt the five-year CIP each
year, typically in September. We
review and update it mid-year,
which is basically what we're
doing right now."
The mid-year update keeps
the projects on the CIP on real-








WEDNESDAY. March 25.2009 NEWS News-Leader


NEWS

LEADER


FLORIDA'S OLDEST WEEKLY NEWSPAPER
ESTABLISHED IN 1854
The News-Leader is published with pride weekly
for,the. people of Nassau County by Community
Newspapers, Inc., Athens, Georgia. We believe
that strong newspapers build strong communi-
ties "Newspapers get things done!" Our primary
goal is to publish distinguished and profitable
community-oriented newspapers. This mission
will be. accomplished through, the teamwork of
professionals dedicated to the truth, integrity, qual-
ity and hard work.
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CHAIRMAN


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PRESIDENT


Community
Newspapers,
Incorporated
The views expressed by the columnists and
letter writers on this page are their own.
:and do notnecessarily reflect the views of
the newspaper, its owners or employees.


r VIEWPOINT/MIKE BOYLE/NASSAU COUNTY COMMISSIONER



Alarmists use 'harsh rhetoric


S teve Nicklas's last column, "On the
S precipice" (March 18), once again gives
a sensational and alarming picture of the
county's financial status, without ever
providing specific examples of the problems he
believes exists. Instead, he relies on the "harsh
rhetoric touted by John Crawford, the clerk of
courts, as (Crawford) describes'the county's
financial future." According to the column,
"Unless the county acts quickly and prudently,
Crawford forecasts a dismal future, since the
county has amassed $70 million of debt from
reckless spending of the past."
Wow, $70 million of debt from reckless
spending in the past? Well, to be sure, none of
the current commissioners held office during
those "reckless times." However, it's interesting
to note that nearly half of that debt ($33 million)
is the result of the new courthouse complex in
Yulee, and I know many of you clearly remem- *
ber a former commissioner who was one of the
.biggest proponents of that project. And then
there was the nearly $20 million that was used
to purchase the Nassau Utilities, which now
brings in revenues to help reduce the debt.
When you add in the several million dollars
used to repave roads throughout the county
(i.e., CR 108, Amelia Island Parkway, Barnwell
Road, Ford Road, Pages Dairy Road, Ratliff
Road, etc.), you have accounted for the vast
majority of the $70 million of debt mentioned in
the column. Was it "reckless spending?" I guess
it depends on whether or not you use any of the
newly paved roads, or if you depend on the


i water company or use the
facilities at the new court-
i house. It may also depend
I .. on what role you played in
the past, and what position
you currently hold.
For example, Nicklas
correctly notes that county
reserves have increased in
the last two years to approx-
Boyle imately $10 million, but
some would prefer to ques-
tion that accomplishment
by'saying it simply means the county collected
more than it needed. Of course, these are the
same people who will be the first to criticize the
commission if there are inadequate reserves
available to handle the emergencies brought on
by these uncertain economic times.
But what else has the commission done in
the last two years to curb "reckless' spending?" .
To begin with, we rescinded the 5-cent gas
tax that had a disproportionately negative
impact on lower income families in the county.
We then eliminated the $100 annual landfill
assessment and voted to close the landfill,
which will save taxpayers nearly $2.5 million a
year. And speaking of the landfill, with the help
of the clerk's office we paid off $12 million of
landfill debt, which saved taxpayers $60,000
each month in interest payments alone.
For the first time, the county finally has a
five-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) fully
funded by the one-cent sales tax. No longer is


the CIP merely a "wish list" without specifically
assigned funding. Also, for the last two years
the county has stopped funding recurring
expenses with non-recurring revenues, a move
that has provided stability to our financial pro-
grams
We're about to begin the second year of a
hiring freeze, which has resulted in an overall
decrease in the number of county employees,
and we've worked hard to maintain the high
level of services that taxpayers expect and
deserve. We've also reduced the overall budget
for the last two years, which has resulted in
lower tax bills for county services for most
county residents.
Are there financial challenges for the county
in the coming months and years? Of course
there are, just as there are for every state, coun-
ty and city in the country. But this is not the
time for "harsh rhetoric," but rather a time for
reasoned and honest analysis of the challenges
and the resources available to address them.
This is not the time to stand on the sidelines
Sniping and hoping for failure in order to gain
personal political advantage, There is too much
at risk.
Instead, this is the time for all interested fac-
tions to work together in a civil and collabora-
tive manner, respecting the lawful responsibili-
ties and authority each segment possesses. For
while the days of "reckless spending" may be
behind us, the enormous financial challenges
brought on by the struggling national economy
still lie ahead. *


VOICE OF THE PEOPLE


Sweetdeal
If FPU can always get an automatic rate
increase like last week ("State OKs FPU rate
hike," March 18), they have no incentive to main-
tain or reduce costs to the customers, in spite of
lower fuel costs in the market.
They can charge the small community big
city rates and get government approval to do it!
If that's the system the Public Service
Commission has set up, they vill continue to
"service" the public in Fernandma.
That sounds like a pretty sweet deal for FPU.
Jim Lukaszewicz
Fernandina Beach

Well done. FPU
Much critical comment has been published
concerning the electric power rate increase
imposed by Florida Public Utilities (which does
no more than recover costs FPU must pay) and
their ill-considered proposed increase in cus-
tomer deposits. But I would like to show the
other side of the coin, that is: the value of local
service.
The other day, my wife and I returned home
in late afternoon to find no hot water. The burn-
er in our propane-fired water heater had gone out.
After futile attempts to relight the pilot flame, I
phoned FPLi, our propane supplier at 5:05 p.m.
A pleasant woman answered the phone and, after
I described the problem, said I would hear from
a serviceman shortly. At 5:15 p.m., the FPU serv-
iceman called, said he was about 15 minutes
away from our home and was on his way. At 5:30
p.m., he pulled up, spent 10 minutes installing a
new thermocouple and left with our water heater
working perfectly..
Perhaps we were just lucky that the FPU serv-
iceman was close by, but Iwas highly impressed
with the routine way our problem was solved so
efficiently and so late in the day. Well done, FPU!
Alan Donaldson
Fernandina Beach

Grapes of wrath
Recently, I wrote a letter to the Florida Public
Service Commission protesting the proposed
rate increase by Florida Public Utilities. Guess
what; I got the same old standard form letter
explaining all and telling nothing. I see where they
are getting the proposed increase. Rubber stamp
from day one.
My electric bill has already gone up over 100
percent within the past two years. My Social
Security check has gone up about 5 percent over
the same time period. Spells red ink.
When they started raising rates in 2007, they
said it was because crude oil had gone to $140 a
barrel Now the price of a barrel of oil is down in
the $40. range. Seems like rates should be
dropped if they are tied to oil prices. The more
you slop a fat hog at the trough, the more he
squeals till he gets what he wants.I
These rate increases hurt the people worst
that can least afford them; the retired senior cit-
izens who are existing on a fixed minimum
income.
, I can't help but think that the events that have
been happening along Florida coastal areas the
last few years are all tied together in one big
grandiose plan.
Insurance companies canceling homeowner
policies on older homes, utility companies dou-
bling and tripling rates and big condo developers
waiting in wings to buy out the poor people who
have to sell out and move. I wonder who owns
whom. I'm sure they can all be traced back to the
same family .tree.
I saw something very similar to this unfold in
the Dust Bowl area in the Midwest during the
Great Depression. After losing three crops in a


HOW TO WRITE US
The News-Leader welcomes your let-
ters.
Maximum length is 500 words.
Letters must include writer's name
(printed and signature), address
and telephone number.
Writers are normally limited to one
letter in a 30-day period.
No political endorsements or poems
will be published.
Letters should be typed or printed.
Not all letters are published.
Send letters to: mparnell@fbnews
leader. corn or to the Editor; P.O. Box
766, Fernandina Beach, FL 32035
Visit us on-line at fbnewsleader.com


row (1934, 1935 and 1936), thousands of faim fam-
ilies shut the door and walked away from their
homes, leaving the banks holding notes. In order
to survive, the banks sold the notes for whatev-
er they could get out of them. Guess who the buy-
ers were? Big insurance companies. They owned
so much land in some counties they had special
offices set up in county seats to oversee proper-
ty.
Between 1930 and 1943 we lived on five dif-
ferept farms (just call us the Joads) and they
were all owned by insurance. companies.
When World War II started and the economy
picked up, the insurance companies sold all this
land at a huge profit.
Maybe the utility executives are prepping for
AIG.
Stanley Bunch
Fernandina Beach

Dogs
If you think living next doorto roosters is bad
("Cock-a-doodle-do to you," March 18), try living
next door to a duplex that the upstairs occupants
have four dogs. They never go in the yard or
never go for walks. When the occupants are
home they let them out on:the deck to do their
business. Try sitting d,'wn to dinner and seeing
four dogs squat arid lake a dunmp.
I tried calling animal control and was told
they were not doing, anything, against the law,
but he wouldn't want to walk out his front door
and see all the dog poop, much less have to smell
it. Who has more rights, dogs and renters, or
property owners, who pay property taxes?
Susan McCoy
Fernandina Beach

Citypayroll
Thanks for reporting on the city's new payroll
and human resources software purchase in the
March 18.News-Leader. Unfortunately, the box
published alongside your article serves to raise
more questions rather than inform. Obviously
the'new system's improvements must- be con-'
siderable. Otherwise I doubt that (Commissioner)
Susan Steger would have changed'her mind to
.favor approval. Still, I wonder! ,.
Can it be that.the city's current systems and
responsible employees are so incapable that they:
(1) can't keep track of unauthorized absentees
(why would you have any?) to the tune of $46,000,
(2) can eliminate "buddy punching" (whatever
that is) to the tune of $36,000, (3) can sustain pay-'
roll errors to the tune of $36,000, (4) can carry,
payroll inflation errors of $21,000, (5) permit
leave inflation errors of $6,600 (why have any?),
(6) can waste $61,000 by not being able to com-
ply with Fair Labor Standards Act and (7) waste
another $15,000 dealing with the employee self-
service system (whatever that is) ?
I am neither an accountant nor an auditor,
but I do have financial background. Something
seems to be missing in this story, and it would be
informative to us taxpayers if you were to do
some follow-up reports.
Doing the bookkeeping for a small city is not
rocket science. I suspect I'm not alone among
your readers in wondering why-city employees.
who have had such trouble managing basic pro-
grams (which were once done by hand) will be
able to manage expensive new ones any more effi-
ciently.


Tom Robertson
Fernandina Beach


Princess Amelia
On average, every resident on Amelia Island
is asked twice a year how Amelia Island got its
name. Most answers given are wrong, a few are
close and just occasionally one.is right.
We are named after a royal, but not just any
royal. Princess Amelia was the daughter of'
*George II, who was in turn the grandfather of the
British kingwho both lost the Revolutionary War
and went mad.
It was James Oglethorpe who did the naming
in 1736. This was just a few years after he found-
ed the last of the 13 colonies in Georgia, which he
had previously named affer her father. It never
hurts to flatter royalty. Oglethorpe knew Amelia
well, having been a regular at court, and it is not
impossible that he was her lover as well.
Our Princess Amelia was in many respects as
eccentric as our island and its inhabitants. She had
at least one illegitimate son, Samuel Arnold, who
became a famous composer. For 20 years, George
Frideric Handel was her music instructor,'and she
his patron. By all accounts, she was a cantan-
kerous woman. She lived in tumultuous times, liv-
ing long enough to see the birth of the United
States, and Britain to emerge as the dominant


Npy0




^Synr h dicCoe





Available from Commercial News Providers"






".i S1 - - --- "
world power. She:- burle uwpl there on the bridge.'
in estminster Abbey. "' Las week as'I headed for W.al-Mart on AL,
Sadly,,she never visited out little island, nor is there lay another'cat who was actually cut in half.
there any record she ever showed the slightest I wondered what little boy or girl lost their best
interesting this tiny place. friend.
And so, now, when asked that inevitable ques- On rAy way home from Wal-Mart, to my dis-
tion, you can inform your inquisitor that we, on may, there was another cat. I couldn't stand it. I
this island, are named after royalty, princess made a U-turn and went back to get this dead cat
Amelia in particular I walked onto A1A and stopped traffic. I picked
Jim Longacre up this poor, helpless cat and moved )it to. the
Yulee middle of the grass median. I notice his leg was
Judicial advocates severed and there was blood still oozing from his
ls mouth. Tears streamed down my face to think of
I must first recognize the courage of the how long this poor animal lay there and suffered
Advocates for Civil Justice (Jan. 28), Bebe and died.
McFadden and George Horbath, and also For you, the person who hit it, why didn't you
Stephen Lukacs (Feb. 6), for publicly standing for stop and go back? You could have saved its life.
justice in a county that has a steadfast earnest in For you people who own cats and dogs and'don't
self-serving power, prejudice, and personal amuse- care whether they roam free, there are those of
nient in the suffering of others. The advocates are us who love animals and would do anything to
a light unto us all who have suffered in Nassau protect them.
County. We are very fortunate for a city of our size to
I was married in 1999 until my wife.aban- have so many resources that will find cats and
doned our marital residence in 2005. Although we dogs good loving homes.
invested equally in our properties, Judge (Robert). Try looking in the Yellow Pages and, also,
Foster ruled that I should receive only half an acre A1A is not a raceway.


of our deep-water 6.5-acre property on Lanceford
Creek in Yulee. All in all, my ex-wife received 82
percent of the assets. My ex-wife continues to
motion the court and defeat me, which has
stacked liens against my remaining assets. Even'
Judge Foster ordered me to pay $15,000 to my ex-
wife for a painting of my premarital property in
Georgia, which originally cost $200, and was
never appraised.
I am currently homeless and penniless. I have
paid more than $200,000 in legal fees for .this
divorce and justice has yet to prevail. Why does
a divorce in America mean crush one and entitle
the other? Shbuldn't the division of assets be
more fair, more equitable?
I admit that I rub Judge Foster wrong because
I am prone to outbursts because of my intolerance
to this situation, my extended age of 66, my fail-
ing health, medications and illness due to decades
of grand mal seizures, I have a similar effect on
attorneys in which three fired me during my
divorce proceedings. In fact, upon being fired
by my third attorney, and standing in for Judge
Foster, Judge (Brian) Davis is on record saying,
"Well Mr. Steedman, this makes three lawyers
who have fired you, I think I'll just let you defend
yourself."
I have an appeal pending against Judge Foster.
Shouldn't any hard-working American receive
competent legal representation from loyal attor-
neys or fair -rulings from judges in Nassau
County? Our Founding Fathers ensured that'
criminals receive representation and fair trials;
shouldn't civil and divorce cases receive similar
fair and competent treatment?
And finally, my ex-wife had a forensic account-
ant expend more than 1,200 hours to accuse me
with malfeasance. None was ever found and it
made no difference in my losses. I have been
through the judicial system in Nassau County
and I have found that the lawyers and judges are
corrupt and biased. I have started contact with the
Advocates for Civil Justice. And Mr. Lukacs, I
hope you get your sons back.
Bill Steedman
Tiger, Ga.
Please take care.
As I drove over the Shave Bridge, there lying
on the side of the road was a beautiful white cat,
dead. Tears filled my eyes as I thought how it got


Debbie Stapleton
Fernandina Beach
Protected species
The city always seems to step in it. And for
those who know, the especially odiferous nature.
of chicken poop makes it a really bad thing to step
in. Once again the city has made us aware that
they are on top of enforcement of an ordinance
for some citizens but not for others. The city
has been quick to act in taking care of a few
noisy chickens in Old Town ("Cock-a-doodle-do
'to youi," March 18) but after five years of relent-
less noise by the Green Turtle the city still has
no remedy, or so they say.
Community Development Director Marshall
McCrary is on top of what Robert Morris of
Animal Control calls an "audible nuisance" from
a rooster in Old Town but he and City Manager
Michael Czymbor have chosen to "Choke the
Chicken" when it comes to the "audible nui-
sance" coming from a Green Turtle in the
Historic District.
This is extraordinarily odiferous. For those
needing a clarification this means it really stinks.
The city made a huge mistake by allowing an
open space bar to open next to a historic hotel.
When the bar began making noise, oh my what
a surprise, they furthered their mistake by danc-
ing around enforcement of the noise ordinance.
When it was revealed early on that there were
multiple misrepresentations made to the city
during the permitting of the Green Turtle, the
city once again compounded their mistake by
refusing to clean it up. Now to top it all off
Czymbor recently said noise ordinance enforce-
ment was not his responsibility. Oops! Maybe
someone should make him aware of his job
description in the city charter and get the new car
brochures out of his office.
Many are now looking to see what the next
move or no move of McCrary, a well-known
Green Turtle patron, and Czymbor will be. Will
they continue with their Cock-A-Doodle-Do-
Nothing plan? Will they send in Animal Control
to the Green Turtle with stick nooses? Will they
do their jobs and put Green Turtle on the endan-
gered species list or will they continue to coddle
and protect them like snail darters?
Charlie Coleman
Fernandina Beach









WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25.2009 NEWS News-Leader


City candidates to a


Two forums have been
scheduled for voters to learn
more about candidates for
Fernandina Beach City
Commission.
The local chapter of AARP
will host a forum at 7 p.m.
Thursday at City Hall, 204 Ash
St.
Concerned Friends of
Fernandina will host a forum-
at 7 p.m. April 6 in the
Community Room of the
Fernandina Beach Police
Department on Lime Street.
Five candidates are seeking
two seats on the city commis-
sion:They,are Bruce Malcolm Bunch
and Jeffrey Bunch, who are
competing for Malcolm's Group
5 seat, and Jim B. is now h
Higginbotham, Larry Myers Ron Sap
and Tim Poynter, who are seek- reelectk
ing the Group 4 seat. That seat The


Malcohn


Leld by Commissioner
pp, who is not seeking
on.
AARP will direct ques-


DON'T LITTER

SSPAY~ NEUTER,
Pic S A wMiS u nteAm byThe Nws-Leader


pear at forums ITICS IN BRIEF


Higginbotham


tions to the candidates at the
Thursday forum.
There will be no questions
from the audience. The audi-
ence will be invited to meet the
candidates one on one after the
forum.
Neither AARP nor
Concerned Friends of
Fernandina endorses candi-
dates.


I F .-


Fernandina Beach Mayor
Bruce Malcolm will host an
ice cream social, a reelection
campaign event, from 2-4 p.m.
Sunday in Central Park on
Atlantic Avenue.
' Malcolm encouraged citi-
zens to bring the kids, lawn
chairs and cameras for free
ice cream, music and fun.'
Malcolm is seeking reelec-
tion to his Group 5 city com-
mission seat.
Climate change
"Everything's Cool," a
comedic documentary creat-
ed by the producers of the
environmental cult classic
"Blue Vinyl It's Show Time
Again!!," will be screened at 7
ters who p.m. Wednesday at the gqner-
ote in the al meeting of the Nassau
Sierra Club.
bout the The comedy film will be
John P. shown at the Council on
Aging, 1367 S. 18th St..
bout the All general meetings are
ids of free and open to the public.,
call Julie For information call Julie
Ferreira at 583-4388.


The Concerned Friends'
forum format will include unan-
nounced questions on current
local issues presented by the
moderator and written ques-
tions submitted by the audi-
ence.
The city election is sched-
uled April 14. If needed, a
runoff election will be held May
12. The new commission takes


office May 19.
All registered vol
live in the city may v(
municipal election.
For information a
AARP forum, call
Megna at 277-2143.
For information a
Concerned Frien
Fernandina forum, c
Ferreira at 583-4388.


BUSINESS CARD BILLBOARD


Myers Poynter


Now








WEDNESDAY. March 25,2009 NEWS News-Leader


Whale of a week


A few weeks ago it
was a real whale of
a week, at least in
my own little corner
of the world. First I learned of
the injured and dying pygmy
or dwarf sperm that showed
up on Little Talbot Island on
March 4.
While I was working within
the state park merrily "push-
ing kayaks off to sea" at
Kayak Amelia, just down
Simpsons Creek a drama was
unfolding. At the tip of'the
sandy spit of Little Talbot
Island a small injured
"toothed" whale had beached
itself and Florida State Park
and Fish and Wildlife
Commission officials were
evaluating the situation.
Dwarf and pygmy sperm
whales are different species
of the genus Kogia and diffi-
cult to tell apart Both are
small for whales at nine feet
long they are about the length
of an average bottlenosed dol-
phin but nearly twice as
heavy. These whales are small
cousins to the giant sperm
whales of Moby Dick lore. All
share characteristics of blunt
heads, under-slung jaws, and
blowholes that are definitely
off center. Although one or
more Kogia washes up on
Florida beaches each year,
they are inconspicuous at sea
and rarely observed alive and
swimming.
The poor Kogia on Little
Talbot Island was near death,
and, based on numerous
other failed attempts with this
species, was given zero
chance of survival and taken
away to be euthanized and
necropsied. I'm sorry I didn't
see it while I was working just
a mile or so away that day, but
maybe just as well. Most of
the photos the park staff pro-
vided me with were gory ones
- the animal was so torn up it
was a sorry sight. I'd rather
see a healthy animal or none

Boat tours
Capt. Kevin McCanhy
of Amelia River Cruises
and zoologist/columnist Pat
Foster-Turley are conduct-
ing a new series of Wild
Ways boat tours this spring
in and around Cumberland
Sound. All tours will be
about three hours long.
Three distinctive tours
are scheduled for 10:30
a.m. March 31 and April 28
and 6 p.m. May 16. Tours
will embark from the
Fernandina Beach down-
town marina at the toot of
Centre Street and cost $38
per person plus tax. Soft
drinks are provided but
people are encouraged to
bring their own snacks and
other drinks if they wish.
For more information
and to make reservations,
call 261-9972.


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at all, than
one that is
so obviously
in distress
with nothing
possible to
do to save it.
Thought
my last
thoughts
NV /I about Kogia
WAYS that day, and
then I got a
phone call a
Pat few days
Foster- Turley later. "Pat,
you're the
one who writes that nature
column, right? Well you've got
to come down to the beach -
we're looking at some dark
mammals offshore that we've
never seen before!" So, off I .
went.
There a few hundred
yards from this beachfront
house were indeed some
small cetaceans rolling about
at the water's surface. They
were too small for pilot
whales, not beaked like dol-
phins, and the behavior
resembled nothing of either
species I'd ever seen or heard
of before. Every so often a
long fin appeared, or a
smooth back or a blunt head,
maybe four or five animals in
all, but it was hard to tell.
From all I could tell from
books and the Internet and
the eyewitness accounts of
those on the porch with me, it
looks like.we were watching a
group of Kobia alive and well
and maybe, just maybe, mat-
ing in a group right in front of
us!
A sighting like this of
Kobia, if that's what they
were, is a rare one indeed, but
I can't think of anything else
that would match the descrip-
tion of what we had in front of
us. What a highlight to a
week!
But then, the whale of a
week of my life got even bet-


ter. A few days later sill anoth-
er call brought me to the
beach. This time, it was to
watch a mother/calf northern
right whale pair frolicking in
the surf, close enough to see.
Although these endangered
"baleen whales," with sifting
plates in their mouth instead
of teeth, spend their winters
giving birth and mating off
our shores, rarely do they
venture close enough for we
Amelia Island residents to see
them.
In fact, during a couple of
winters where I organized a
group of dedicated whale
watchers on Amelia Island,
never did we actually see a
whale. "Whale seekers" we
called our group, but we
sought and never found them.
That Thursday these two
whales thrilled many other
residents on Amelia Island as
the word spread. They were
unmistakably right whales,
with their trademark "v-
shaped blow" and calls were
placed to the Whale Hotline
to document the sighting.
Carl Watson, an experienced
naturalist, had even more
light to shed on this sighting.
He and his wife watched
these whales that day near
Main Beach for a couple of
hours and they reported not
just the mother/calf pair, but
another, larger whale lurking
a bit further out to sea.
So, yes, folks it's whale
season now along our shores,
so keep looking out to sea.
And if you do see a whale be
sure to call the Whale Hotline
at 1-888-97-WHALE so they
can alert boats in the area to
avoid the area where they ,
might run into them. With the
ocean at our doorstep, the
wonders of the deep blue sea
are right beside us to respect
and enjoy!
Pat Foster-Turley is a zoolo-
gist on Amelia Island.
patandbucko@yahoo.com


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WEDNESDAY. MARCH 25,:2009 NEWS News-Leader


Public records requests


spur new county policy


RYAN SMITH
News-Leader

A Nassau County resident's
repeated public records
requests have led the county to
reexamine its policies on equip-
ment accountability. Yulee res-
ident Tom Brady has flooded
county offices with public
records requests for months,
specifically requesting infor-
mation about the thermal
imaging cameras used by
Nassau County Fire Rescue
and the sheriff's office.
Brady has accused county
officials of illegally denying
him access to public records. "I
read all this stuff in the paper
about (the county) spending
money, and as a concerned cit-
izen I go down to ask for the
records," he said. "I told them
my concerns and asked for the
records, and they blew me off
completely."
However, County Attorney
David Hallman insisted that
every effort has been made to
accommodate Brady's reque-
sts. "He's made a series of pub-
lic records requests and then
never picked them up," Hal-
lman said. "... I-don't think he
wants to pick the documents
up. Every time (records man-
ager) Debbie (Moody) says,
"We've got the documents,' he'll
revise the request slightly so
he can say that we're not giving
him the records."
Moody agreed. "He's yet to
pick tip the records we've pre-
pared. There's even a CD from
July of last year that he's yet to
pick up," she said.
Moody also said Brady
'demanded records the coun-
ty does not keep. '"If we don't
have it, we don'tshave,it and
Florida statute clearly states
that you do not create records
(merely to fulfill a request),"
she said. '


Among Brady's requests
for nonexistent records was a
request for logs detailing the
use of thermal imaging cam-
eras by county fire-rescue.
When Brady was told that no
such log was kept, he sug-
gested that one should be to
prevent abuse of the equip-
ment.
"When we were in the mil-
itary, we had to sign for every-
thing," he said. "(Nassau
County firefighters) don't have
to sign for any of their equip-
mept."
Hallman said he referred
Brady's suggestion to Office
of Management and Budget
Director Ted Selby. "If there
were any possibility that (the
cameras) were being abused,
that's an asset management
question, which Ted is address-
ing," he said. "We listen to all
citizens, and apparently Ted is
recommending that we change
the policy to address that.
(Brady) has, had a positive.
impact on county policy, and
he's to be commended for,
that." '
Selby said that as a result of
his research into the issue, he
is recommending that the, fire
department's thermal imaging
cameras be added to the
department's "daily walk-
around sheet," a list of items'
that must be accounted for on
every shift.
"Just to be double-safe, I
think we ought to list them
there so they can check them
each time," Selby said.'"It just
means each time a new shift
comes on, they would acknowl-
edge, We have these pieces of
equipment.' They would be
cited every shift change under
that procedure. That is the rec-
ommendation I'm making to)
(County Coordinator Edward)
Sealover and (Nassau County
Fire Chief Chuck) Cooper."


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Stay vigilant; wildfire risk high


County Fire Rescue has
reminded residents that
drought conditions mean the
county is vulnerable until con-
stant rains eliminate wildfire
conditions.
The Florida Division of
Forestry reported Tuesday that
the Keetch-Byram Drought
Index is a relatively high 478 in
Nassau County. The normal
level for spring in North Florida
is between 261 and 460. The
KBDI is a continuous reference
scale for estimating the dryness
of the soil and duff layers. The
scale ranges from 0 (no mois-
ture deficit) to 800.
Until the area gets signifi-
cantly more rainfall, Nassau
County Professional Firefight-
ers IAFF Local 3101 urges citi-
zens to be extra vigilant about
conditions that ignite, or sustain


wildfires. Discard smoking
materials correctly; monitor out-
door grilling closely; beware of
heated engines (lawnmowers,
ATVs and vehicles) around dry
grasses; and protect the perime-
ter of your home by taking pro-
tective measures.
Protective measures include:
Maintain a 30-foot defen-
sible space around structures,
keeping this area free of leaves
and debris, well-mowed and irri-
gated (if you don't have 30 feet,
clear what you can).
Keep gutters, eaves and
yards clear of debris, sticks,
pine needles and leaves.
To help emergency vehi-
cles gain access, make sure
driveways' are at least 12 feet
wide with at least 15 feet of over-
head clearance, and are easily
identifiable.


Move all combustibles
away from structures during
high fire danger times (wood,
propane tanks, gas grills, motor
homes, boats, ATVs, cars).
Plant fire resistant plants
such as dogwood, sycamore,
magnolia, oaks, red maple, wild
azalea, sweet gum, black cher-
ry and ferns instead of pines
and palmettos. Highly com-
bustible plants such as palmet-
tos should be kept away from
structures.
Trim all branches up to 10
feet and remove all climbing
vines from trees.
Use fire-resistant con-
structibn materials where pos-
sible, and fire resistant barriers
when attaching flammable
materials, such as wood decks
or fences to the house.,
Fire weather watches and


Thomas Creek neighbors


press for flood remedies


KATHIE COLGROVE
Community Newspapers


Federal grant money may
be on the. way .to remedy the
clogs ailing Thomas Creek.
Nassau County engineers
plat to submit a FEMA grant
application by April 6, request-
ing up to $405,127 in allotted
funds to .start the first phase
of 'cleaning areas around
Thomas Creek.
The first phase of the proj-
ect is anticipated to cost about
$582,000, aided by a 25 per-
cent local match of funding dol-
lars and/or in-kind services,
according to a March 9 mem-
orandum from Jonathan Page,
interim director of the coun-
ty's Engineering Services
Department.
Though FEMA funds will
not be available until Decem-
ber. it is possible that the coun-
ty commission could approve
,Imergenc. funds to: get the
first phase of the project mov-
ing, Page said.
He said additional funds
from the Florida Inland Naviga-
tion District may also be
attained. The state has juris.
..diction of the creek.
He -idded that the commis-
sion must also grant legal


1 1


Pdm Meyer


"tic


AMELIA ISLAND, FLORIDA LISTING AND SALES


access to private easements
. along the creek bank before
workers from the county Road
and Bridge Department can
begin clearing debris and
branches near the water.
Total cost 'for debris
removal has yet to be deter-
mined, said Bob Rowland, a
county engineer. .
"Once we complete phase
one we'llhave a better idea," he
said. "But there is also a pos-
sibility there are half a dozen
blockages. It may well be the,
problem is not continuous.... If
you get the blockages out of
the way."
During the county com-
mission meeting March 9,
copies of the memorandum
were distributed to nearly 40
people affected by Thomas
Creek. The community con-
tinues to keep a watchful eye'
on the creek bank months after
Tropical Storm Fay devastat-
ed the area.
Resident Nalini Putman has
been leading the charge to
have the creek cleared before
the on set oi the next hurricane
season.
"Two inches of-rainfall
cause-d the creek to back up,"
she said. "We are susceptible to
flash floods now."-


She asked commission
Chair Barry Hollowayto ring
the bell for the citizens and
Thomas Creek in Washington,
D.C.
"We need the stimulus
money," she said. "We need to
get that creek cleared."
Holloway agreed that some-
thing must be done and said he
has discussed the creek's con-
dition with' U.S. Sen. Bill
Nelson. "This is not sitting on
a shelf," he said.
Putnam urged the com-
mission to do more. "We appre-
ciate what you guys are doing,
but do it a little faster," she said.
Commissioner Walter
Boatright recalls navigating
Thomas Creek during the
1970s, when the waterway was
not clogged. He plans to meet
with Ronnie Fussell, Jackson-
ville City Council president, to
find a solution.
Following the meeting,
Travis Crane, who lives near
the creek, said he is'optimistic
about the creek's future.
"I'm still a little encouraged,
still a little discouraged by the
fact it's going to take so long,"
he said. "I'm encouraged to see
something moving, and they're
"actually getting some quotes-
for desnagging."


red flag.warnings are issued by
the National Weather Service
to alert prescribed burners and
land managers to potentially
hazardous burning conditions
that may lead to the loss of con-
trol of a prescribed fire or add to
wildfire danger.
Never burn yard trash or
debris during these red flag
warnings or county burn bans.
If burning is allowed call
the Florida Division of Forestry
(904) 266-5000 for authorization
for burning along with the
Nassau County Sheriff's Office
non-emergency numbers in
Yulee, 225-5174; Bryceville,
(904) 353-7072; and Callahan,
(904) 879-3853.
Install spark arresters on
chimneys.
Evacuate immediately if
requested.


I dead,


2 hurt


in wreck

SHANNON MALCOM
News-Leader

A 32-year-old Jacksonville
woman died Saturday in a two-'
vehicle wreck on 1-95. The
woman's passenger and the
driver of the other vehicle were
both injured and taken to
Shands Jacksonville for treat-
ment.-
Vanessa Parker Sinclair was
pronounced dead at the scene
of the accident, which happened
about 2:50 p.m.
According to a report from
the Florida Highway Patrol, 22-
year-old Jen Yung Lee of
Savannah, Ga., was driving a
2006 Honda motorcycle on I-
95, approaching a 2001
Chevrolet four-door driven by
Sinclair.
Sinclair was "attempting to
take evasive action" from the
motorcycle but lost control of
the vehicle. Both vehicles ran
off the road near the exit for
A1A and overturned several
times, coming to rest on the
right shoulder of 1-95.
Brittany Parker, 16, was a
passenger in Sinclair's vehicle.
She and Lee were taken to
Shands Jacksonville. According
to the report. Lee suffered seri-
ous injuries and Parker's
injuries were minor.
Charges are pending the
outcome of the investigation.
Investigators do not believe
alcohol was a factor in the
crash.
Sinclair reportedly was wear-
ing a seatbelt but Parker was
not.
The report does not indicate
whether Lee and Sinclair were
traveling north or south on the
interstate.
smalcom@fbnewsleader.com

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News-Leader Classifieds
Cal21-3696todayI


' CANAL FRONT W/ FLOATING DOCK
This is a home to be enjoyed Custom designed
featuring a grand stone fireplace, full wet bar,
hardwood floors, 3/2 with office, large deck
w/ 2 screened porches for appreciating the
glorious view.. Lots of glass-allows sunny expo-
sure and brings the scenic view front and cen-
1ti' 399,000 PLti'i, j '4


YOUR WATERFRONT RETREAT
3 acres of scenic views in a serene waterfront
setting makes this 2726 sq. ft. home a spe-
cial place. The private pool, gazebo, boat
ramp, .4 ca" garages, game room, granite
countertops, bamboo and Saltillo tile floor-
ing are icing on the cake. $875,000
I IL I 4lt',r.- '


SWEEPING OCEAN VIEWS.
Rare top floor three bedroom condo modi-
fied to enhance the ocean views. Once you
C are inside you won't want to leave. Sunsets
views overFt. Clinch State Park included
Garage, storage closet, pbol and easy beach
access. $575,000 MLS #46658 .


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OCEANFRONT
Fantastic ocean views with second floor conven-
lence. Don't miss this wonderful unit with lots
of tile and charm. Sold fully furnished.
Boardwalk to the beach, swimming pool, eleva-
tor and internet access offered with Ketch
Courtyard. Great central island location makes
it easy to enjoy the Island lifestyle. $440,000
MLS#46264


AMELIA ISLAND PLANTATION
Premier 3 BD, 3 BA oceanfront condominium with
3230 sq. ft. offering magnificent ocean views. This
exquisite property features Travertine tile, granite
counter tops, stainless appliances, plenty of built-in
bookcases and cabinetry, a family room and an office
in addition to the elegant living and dining areas.
Enjoy the timeless beauty of the exceptional proper-
ty. $2,185,000 MLS #4839393


AFFORDABLE LAKEFRONT CONDO
Move right in to this one bedroom condo
overlooking a 26 acre lake. Boasts 18" tile,
vaulted ceilings, screened porch and can be
sold furnished. Gated community offers,
tennis courts, pool, fitness center and much
morel $122,600, MLS#48029


SPACIOUS OCEAN VIEW VILLA
Enjoy the comforts of home.at an exceptional
value. Use as a rental property, your residence
or your vacation home as this property features
all.the amenities you want in over 2100 sq. ft.
Granite countertops, crown molding, a gas fire-
place with built-ins, 3 Bd. 3,5 baths, garage, stor-
age and more. $699,000 MLS#48292


HISTORIC DISTRICT
The Thompson House just off Centre St.
Situated on a 100xl00 lot with commercial
zoning. Includes adjacent building currently
leased to a restaurant, 7 rooms, large kitchen, I
full bath, 2 half baths. $629,000 MLS#43369


STUNNING HISTORIC DISTRICT HOME
Overlooking English gardens and outdoor fire-
place.Rich, heart pine floors and grand staircase,
relaxing sunporch, gourmet kitchen, wonderful
front porch on a 75 x 100 lot. Separate 2 car
garage w/ spacious office or bedrooni, bath &
deck above. YOU WON'T FIND ANOTHER
ONE BETTER. $750,000 MLS#44240


Amelia Island Plantation Homesites: Preservation Lots 52 and 53 Sea Marsh $325,000.
Golf Front lot 126 Marsh Creek $395,000.
Deeply Discounted Deep Waterfront lot 8 on Meadowfield Bluffs, over 2 acres high and dry. $250,000


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Amelia Island, Parent Co-Op Preschool -
OPEN HOUSE
Sat., 3/28 10am 1pm
5040 First Coast Hwy.
.(Next to The Dome)
Fall classes for ages 2 and 3 enrolling now!
(904) 261-1161 *.www..aipcp.org


CITY OF FERNANDINA BEACH
NOTICE OF REFERENDUM
Notice is hereby given that a referendum election is hereby called and will be held on April 14, 2009
at the regular City Election to be held on said dale, for the consideration by the voters of the City of
Fernandina Beach of the proposed amendments to the City Charter. The questions to appear on the
referendum'ballot reflecting the proposed amendments to the City Charter at the election scheduled
for April 14, 2009 shall be as follows:
Question No. 1
Terms of Commissioners
Should the City Charter be amended to provide that City Commissioners shall serve four (4) year
terms instead of three (3) year terms?
Yes for Approval
No for Rejection
Question No. 2
Term Limits
Should the City Charter be amended to provide that commissioners are not limited to two (2) suc-
cessive terms in office and may serve without term limits?
Yes for Approval
No for Rejection
Question No. 3
City Elections
Should the City Charter be amended to provide that the City Commission shall set the dates for city
elections by ordinance and repeal Section 123A since its provisions are included in other sections
of the City Charter and in the Code of Ordinances?
Yes for Approval
No for Rejection
Question No. 4
City Commission and Administration
Should the City Charter be amended to clarify the powers of the City Commission and provide that
commissioners shall not directly interfere with or direct any city employee but that commissioners
may directly communicate with city employees with the express permission of respective charter offi-
cers?
Yes for Approval
No for Rejection

Copies of the referendum ballot reflecting the proposed amendments to the City Charter may be inspect-
ed in the office of the City Clerk, City Hall, 204 Ash Street, Fernandina Beach, between the hours
of 8:00 AM 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. For information on the referendum, please con-
tact the City Clerk's Office at 277-7305.


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